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[3] Another fallacy consists in combining what is divided or dividing what is combined. For since a thing which is not the same as another often appears to be the same, one may adopt the more convenient alternative. Such was the argument of Euthydemus, to prove, for example, that a man knows that there is a trireme in the Piraeus, because he knows the existence of two things, the Piraeus and the trireme;1 or that, when one knows the letters, one also knows the word made of them, for word and letters are the same thing. Further, since twice so much is unwholesome, one may argue that neither is the original amount wholesome; for it would be absurd that two halves separately should be good, but bad combined. In this way the argument may be used for refutation, in another way for demonstration, if one were to say, one good thing cannot make two bad things. But the whole topic is fallacious. Again, one may quote what Polycrates said of Thrasybulus, that he deposed thirty tyrants,2 for here he combines them; or the example of the fallacy of division in the Orestes of Theodectes:3 “It is just that a woman who has killed her husband” should be put to death, and that the son should avenge the father;
and this in fact is what has been done. But if they are combined, perhaps the act ceases to be just. The same might also be classed as an example of the fallacy of omission; for the name of the one who should put the woman to death is not mentioned.

1 Very obscure and no explanation is satisfactory. The parallel passage in Aristot. Sophist. Elenchi 20.6 is: “Do you being in Sicily now know that there are triremes in the Piraeus?” The ambiguity lies in the position of “now,” whether it is to be taken with “in Sicily” or with “in the Piraeus.” At the moment when a man is in Sicily he cannot know that there are at this time triremes in the Piraeus; but being in Sicily he can certainly know of the ships in the Piraeus, which should be there, but are now in Sicily (Kirchmann). St. Hilaire suggests that the two clauses are: Do you now, being in Sicily, see the triremes which are in the Piraeus? and, Did you when in Sicily, see the triremes which are now in the Piraeus? The fallacy consists in the two facts (being in the Piraeus and the existence of triremes in Sicily), true separately, being untrue combined.

2 Thrasybulus deposed the thirty individuals and put down the single tyranny which they composed; he then claimed a thirtyfold reward, as having put down thirty tyrannies.

3 Frag. 5 (T.G.F.).

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